Simplest mobile blogging setup2 min read

This could be enough for anyone. Not for me, but it might be for you. I’m using it now, and it’s actually really nice.


What do you really need for writing a blog on the go? It really comes down to this, I think:

  • A personal computing device, like a mobile phone, tablet, or laptop.
  • A camera. It could be the one built into your writing device.
  • A keyboard.

But let’s break it down. What am I using to write this article right now?

  • Mobile Phone. Really, almost any mobile phone can work for this. Android, iOS, doesn’t matter. But I’m an iPhone fan. In my case, I’m using an iPhone 7 Plus. The screen size is great and so is the camera. But carrying a phone this big can honestly sometimes feel like I’ve got a little tablet on my belt holster. We all make trade-offs! But this covers my computing device and my camera in one go, and it fits on my belt. Score!
  • Phone stand. I’m using a Moko stand. This thing is so ridiculously slim and easy to carry. I keep it folded up flat in a pocket within my phone holster. No excuse not to carry this.
  • Keyboard. After screwing around with many somewhat more portable keyboards, I finally bit the bullet and picked up an Apple Magic Keyboard and a traveling case for it.

And that’s it. The keyboard goes in my backpack which is nothing special. The phone goes in my phone holster, but so does the stand! And with this, I could write from pretty much anywhere in the world.

But would I?

No, probably not. While this setup is perfectly comfortable for straight-up prose, it’s kind of painful for something like this where I’m trying to grab links out of Amazon, shorten them, paste them, switching back and forth between apps. It’s just kind of clumsy and tedious to do on a phone screen. It’s a little easier with more screen space, like with the iPad Mini 5.

If I were writing a book with Scrivener, yes, this would be the hot setup. NaNoWriMo contenders, make note!

And while the iPhone 7 Plus has a great camera for a phone, that trailing caveat is what’s currently killing it for me. I need something more from my images, even if it means I have to carry more stuff.

So what am I going to take on my next trip? Stay tuned.

magnus

3 Comments

Khürt Williams

Ugh! I think that setup would drive me mad. I’m 52. For extended use like this, the iPhone 7 screen font would have to be increased to the point where only a few words would fit into a text field. Remove the keyboard (it doesn’t fit in a pocket), and I think this is a minimum viable setup, but it would not be an efficient and productive setup for me.

I could take good photos with my iPhone 7, but it would not be able to capture the image I want to capture.

magnus

Yes, this is not *ideal* but it’s the minimum I could use, I think. I couldn’t tap out prose with the on-screen keyboard. And after trying a small array of foldable Bluetooth keyboards, I decided the full Apple Magic Keyboard was worth the trouble of carrying around.

It gets a lot better as you get into the iPads. I’m typing this now on the same keyboard, but with a 2017 iPad Pro 12.9” (which mostly gets used around the house). It works pretty well on the latest iPad Mini 5. iOS on the phone is… different. The apps are different. Presentation is different.

Camera-wise, I use an X-T2 with prime lenses when I’m close to home. When I travel, I usually take either a Fujifilm X100F or my old Ricoh GR. I have a whole photography workflow that’s also 100% mobile, based on RAW files shot with these cameras.

magnus

I’m typing this reply with the same setup, and the iPad 5 Mini. Reading glasses are helpful. But it’s entirely doable. This is the setup I’m going to be using from the field.

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